HC Deb 22 April 1964 vol 693 c1299
36. Mr. W Hamilton

asked the secretary of state for Scotland how many houses in Scotland qualify for improvement grants; and what is the annual rate of applications for such grants.

The Under-secretary of state for Scotland (Mr. Gordan Campbell)

About 450,000 houses in Scotland lack one or more of the five standard amenities The actual number which would qualify for improvement grant depends on the condition of the individual houses Improvement grants are currently given for about 4,000 houses a year

Mr. Hamilton

can the hon. Gentleman tell me—I cannot work it out quickly enough myself—how many years it would take to get all these houses up to the required standard at the present rate of progress?

Mr. Campbell

It would not be possible to make that calculation because a large number of these houses are unfit and will be demolished and, therefore, are not apt for improvement The Housing Bill which we have recently been considering makes arrangements for speeding up improvement and gives further powers to local authorities to that end

Mr. Ross

Does the hon. Gentleman realize that, on the present rate of demolition of slums, it would take 50 years, and at the present rate of improvement it would take 100 years? What do the Government intend to do about speeding up the process, quite apart from passing bills? They have got all the power they want Why not get on with the job?

Mr. Campbell

I dissent from the hon. Gentleman's calculations because, as I pointed out, one cannot make that assumption since the figures I have given includes unfit houses as well as those for improvement

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